Latest Technology News

Microsoft releases Music and Video Preview apps for Windows 10 -- drops Xbox branding


While I love Spotify, I recently invested in an Xbox Music Pass subscription. The reason why is quite simple -- cost. On March 14, which is Pi Day, Microsoft offered a steep discount on a year of the service. While the experience is sub-par on Android, it works brilliantly on Windows.

Today, Microsoft releases previews of both the Music and Videos apps for the Windows 10 Technical Preview. While there are many changes -- both visually and under the hood -- the most surprising is the apparent dropping of the Xbox branding. Is this the sign of a bigger change?

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Flickr adds support for public domain photos

Flickr adds support for public domain photos

When you stick a photo online, how can you make it clear that you are happy for anyone to use it however the heck they want? By adding support for the Public Domain and Creative Commons 0 designations, Flickr just made things a whole lot easier.

The site has long been home to a raft of images made available under Creative Commons licenses, but now options have been expanded further. If you're happy to forego the copyright you have to your picture, Flickr now lets you become a photographic philanthropist.

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Chromebook reaches a new low

Chromebit and Chromebook Flip

If my calendar showed April Fools' Day instead of March 31st, I would think the big Google announcement was a joke: $149 Chromebooks, with one model available from Walmart? I know some of these laptops sell for $199. But $50 less and models from Haier and Hisense?

Meanwhile, ASUS will, in summer, start selling something for even less: Chromebit, a $100 candy-bar size carry-all computer. Plug it into a HDMI-compatible display (like your TV), and your Chromie lifestyle is even-more mobile. The company also will release Chromebook Flip, a tablet-convertible wannabe, sooner. Someone tell me: This isn't a Foolie prank?

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Facebook introduces scrapbooks for photos of your kids

Facebook introduces scrapbooks for photos of your kids

Facebook is about more than being social; it's about presenting a version of yourself to other people. When you share a photo of your meal, you're making a statement: "look at this delicious expensive meal I can afford", "look at the fancy restaurant we're visiting", or "gosh, aren't I healthy for making this salad?". But of course Facebook is not just filled with photos of food -- there are also photos of kids, presenting an image of family life.

Starting today, Facebook is rolling out a new scrapbooking feature designed specifically for pulling together photos of your child. The idea is to make it easier to collect together photos into one place so you can view all of your memories without having to jump from place to place.

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Microsoft Surface 3 vs Surface Pro 3: Which is best for you?

Surface 3 + Surface Pro 3

Before Microsoft announced Surface 3, choosing a Surface tablet was ultimately a matter of deciding which Surface Pro 3 model fits you best, depending on your budget and needs. But now that there's a new kid on the block, which is offered in four, very distinct trims, finding the right Surface just got trickier.

Just like its older brother, the new Surface 3 features a high-resolution display, promises great battery life, offers a decent amount of storage, packs an x86 processor and runs Windows 8.1. The optional Type Cover keyboard makes an appearance as well, and so does Surface Pen. But there are some differences, of course. So which one should you buy?

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Cyntur JumperPack mini -- give both your car and phone battery a jump


Here in New York, we just encountered a very brutal winter. While shoveling is an inconvenience, it is dangerous too. Having a heart attack from the strain is not uncommon. Plus, slippery roads and walkways make both driving and walking potentially risky activities.

Injuries aside, the last thing you want to experience in a snowstorm, however, is being stranded. If your car battery dies, a pair of jumper cables can save the day, but only if another motorist drives by and is willing to help. Today, Cyntur announces the JumperPack mini. Not only can you use it to jump-start your car without another vehicle, but it can charge your phone too.

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The Net Neutrality mystery


My friend Andy Regitsky, whom I have known for more than 30 years, follows the FCC, blogs about them, and teaches courses on -- among other things -- how to read and understand their confusing orders. Andy knows more about the FCC than most of the people who work there and Andy says the new Net Neutrality order will probably not stand. I wonder if it was even meant to?

You can read Andy’s post here. He doesn’t specifically disagree with my analysis from a few days ago, but goes further to show some very specific legal and procedural problems with the order that could lead to it being killed in court or made moot by new legislation. It’s compelling: Andy is probably right.

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From the Black Forest to the Black Sea -- cruise the Danube with Google Maps


When you think of the world's majestic rivers many names come to mind -- the Mississippi,  Amazon, Nile, Seine, Thames, and several others. The Danube also springs to mind, as the beauty of the famous river sprawls out, spanning multiple nations and attracting those who wish to go on one of its famous cruises.

The allure was too much to resist for Google and the company dispatched a Street View team to take that popular boat ride. The result is a stunning journey down the famous body of water, going from one end to the other.

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Backup? What's a backup? One in five Brits don't save their PC data

USB stick keyboard backup

Today is World Backup Day, I'm not sure if it's significant that it comes just before April Fool's Day, but it does seem that the backup message isn't getting through to everyone.

A new survey of 1,000 UK adults by digital storage manufacturer Verbatim reveals that one in five have never backed up their home computers and more than a third never back up their mobiles.

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Microsoft announces Surface 3 -- thinner, lighter, and runs full Windows


Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop, according to Microsoft. Assuming you spend money buying a Type Cover for it of course. My colleague Brian Fagioli absolutely loves his Surface Pro 3, but it’s not cheap.

If you fancy the slate, but your budget won’t stretch to the asking price, there’s good news -- Microsoft has just announced a cheaper follow up to Surface 2, called, naturally enough, Surface 3, and it’s cheaper than the Pro version, and doesn’t run Windows 8.x RT like its predecessor.

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Anonymous proxies used to carry out shotgun DDoS attacks

DDoS attack

We're all increasingly concerned about our privacy and the footprint that we leave on the internet. It's not surprising then that more of us are turning to anonymous proxies to hide our origin IP and HTTP details.

But new research from website security company Incapsula has uncovered a darker side to the use of anonymizers as a source of DDoS attacks.

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Project Spartan: fat, chunky, and devoid of style and features

Project Spartan: fat, chunky, and devoid of style and features

After all of the talk, some action. Microsoft has been gentling building the hype about Spartan for some time now, but it's only with the release of Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10049 that we get to, officially, go hands on. This is the web browser that's replacing Internet Explorer, the default web browser in Windows 10, so it has quite a role to perform.

It's a browser that's "built for the modern web" -- whatever that means -- and it sees Microsoft trying to shed the shackles of IE and move forward. Microsoft has been talking the talking for months, but does Spartan walk the walk? No. Spartan, at the moment, appears to be a joke. Let me elaborate.

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Firefox 37 implements new HeartBeat ratings system


Mozilla has released Firefox 37.0 FINAL for desktop, with Firefox for Android 37.0 due to follow in the coming days.

The new release debuts the Heartbeat user rating system, plus a number of incremental improvements and tweaks. Version 38 has also been made available in Beta and includes some more radical changes, including a new tabbed-based preferences UI.

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Windows 10 will support ASS, SRT and SSA subtitle formats

Microsoft releases Windows 10 SDK tools for developers

One of the main reasons why third-party media players like Media Player Classic and VLC are extremely popular among Windows users is the proper subtitle support. A lot of folks watch videos in a foreign language, and having the option to easily attach a subtitle in their mother tongue, no matter the format it's made available in, is a must-have feature for many.

It would help if Windows Media Player or the built-in Video app, the latter of which is part of Windows 8 and newer versions of the OS, would meet their needs, but, so far, that hasn't been the case. However, Microsoft wants to change that with Windows 10.

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Enterprise security places increased reliance on threat intelligence

Hidden threat

It's easier to combat security threats if you're prepared for them so it isn't perhaps surprising that security teams are increasingly turning to threat intelligence to stay ahead of the game.

A new report commissioned by endpoint protection specialist Webroot and prepared by the Ponemon Institute shows that most companies believe threat intelligence is essential for a well-rounded cybersecurity defense and has proven effective in stopping security incidents.

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