Latest Technology News

How to change Windows 10's taskbar color, but leave the Start menu and Action Center untouched

Colorful hands

Windows 10 offers a lot of personalization options. Go to Settings > Personalization and you can change the background, alter the color scheme, pick a different Lock screen background, and apply themes.

If you want Windows 10 to show a splash of color, go to the Colors section and toggle the 'Show color on Start, taskbar and Action Center' setting to On. There’s not an option to only change the taskbar’s color unfortunately, but it is possible to do this.

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B.S. Detector highlights 'fake' news links and sites

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A busy Facebook feed could be crammed with all kinds of articles and news headlines, but are they genuine, or propaganda, or hoaxes, or something else entirely?

B.S. Detector is a free extension for Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari and Edge which claims it can help.

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CA Technologies buys enterprise automation company Automic

ca technologies

One of the largest independent software companies in the world, CA Technologies, has announced it is acquiring enterprise automation company Automic. The parties signed a definitive acquisition agreement last Thursday, for a transaction that’s worth approximately €600 million (roughly £507m).

The deal has been unanimously approved by both boards of directors, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of CA’s fiscal 2017. Automic is an enterprise automation company selling ONE -- it’s automation platform.

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Google has a moral obligation to hide offensive autocomplete search suggestions

Google covers girls eyes

If a query becomes popular enough on Google, it will show up as an autocomplete suggestion after you type the first words. For instance, if you write "what's my" one of the things that Google will propose is "what's my IP". That's to help you find what you are looking for more quickly. But there's a dark side to it: if left alone, it can expose you to some pretty offensive searches.

Case in point is "are Jews evil", which my colleague Mark Wilson wrote about earlier. Yes, a high enough number of users searched for those exact terms that it showed up as an autocomplete suggestion -- until Google decided to do something about it. Mark strongly believes that's wrong, but his arguments are childish. Why? Well, because if Google does nothing, your young children can also see "how to rape a woman" or "how to murder your mother" as autocomplete suggestions after writing "how to" in Google, just because some people wanted to make those queries popular. Think about it, and I mean really think about it, and let me know if that's something you would like to see happen. Could you live with it if, for instance, your easily influenced six year old stabs someone, as a result? Scary thought, isn't it?

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Get out of MacBook Pro (2016) dongle hell with HyperDrive Compact Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Hub

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The MacBook Pro (2016) is quite possibly the most beautiful laptop ever created -- it is a work of art. It has a revolutionary new keyboard and a monstrous touch-pad. So it is perfect, right? Well, not for everyone. You see, it only has USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, meaning you may need dongles to get work done. Need to connect an SD card? Dongle. HDMI cable? Dongle. USB Type-A? Dongle.

Obviously, everyone will be searching for one ultimate dongle that can do it all. There are many such adapters on the market, but many fall short of perfection. Over on Kickstarter, however, there is a new such product called "HyperDrive" that aims to be the only dongle you will ever need.

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Using VP9 and H.264/AVC High codecs keeps Netflix video downloads smaller

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The announcement that Netflix now allows viewers to download videos for offline viewing caused understandable excitement among subscribers. Of course, the key concern -- particularly with mobile devices -- is storage space. But thanks to a tweaked codec, Netflix has your back.

If you were worried that you might not be able to fit many episodes of your favorite shows on your phone or tablet, fear not. For Android users, Netflix opted to use the super-efficient VP9 codec, but as this isn’t supported by Apple, it had to think outside the box a little and ended up plumping for a custom H.264/AVC High codec for iOS users. The space savings are impressive.

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Oracle donates $1.4 billion for IT training in Europe

Oracle

In an effort to foster increased digital literacy in Europe, Oracle has announced that it will donate $1.4 billion in both direct and "in-kind" support to ensure the continuation of computer sciences and skills in the region. These funds are part of a larger $3.3 billion worldwide initiative by the company to guarantee that in the future there will be enough skilled digital workers.

Oracle plans to use its donation to train 1,000 European people to use CS, Java and Database to a high-enough degree that they will be able to teach others to do the same. Over a three year period, the company will open 1,000 educational institutions called Oracle Academies in the region to accomplish this task.

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Google's Trusted Contacts app lets you share your location with friends and family

Mobile location pin

Google is making it easy to share your location with your friends and family, introducing a new Android app, called Trusted Contacts, that lets select contacts know exactly where you are at any given time.

Google has designed Trusted Contacts so that if you do not manually accept a request within five minutes it will automatically share your location with that contact. This should come in handy when you are unable to pick up your smartphone or cannot hear it ring.

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Google is wrong, wrong, wrong to remove 'are Jews evil' from search autocomplete suggestions

google-search

Over the last few days there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the discovery that if you type "are Jews" into Google, one of the suggested searches is "are Jews evil". The same is true for the search "are women" and "are Muslims" ("bad" being the suggestion in the third instance). Or at least it was the case.

Following cries of anti-Semitism, the search giant folded like a moist tissue and remove the "offensive" suggestion. Clearly Google is able to do -- by and large -- whatever the hell it wants... but that doesn’t make it right. And the removal of the "are Jews evil" suggestion is not only wrong, but also worrying and dangerous. If you disagree you can let off steam in the comments and cast a vote in the poll, but hear me out first.

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TED Notepad gets first update in 5 years

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Classic freeware Notepad replacement TED Notepad has just been updated to version 6.1.1, its first release since 2011. The new build brings you drag and drop editing with either mouse button. Select text, drag and drop with the left and it’s moved; drag and drop with the right and you’ve the option to copy or move it.

An extended Backup feature enables copying the previous version of the current document whenever it’s saved. The program can save multiple backups and rotate between them.

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Consumers ignore security risks and turn to mobile for their holiday shopping

Mobile shopping

Mobile is expected to be the most popular online shopping route this holiday season with 71 percent planning to use it.

Next-generation mobile security company Trustlook has carried out a survey of Android users to dig deeper into the expected mobile shopping behaviors for the 2016 holiday season.

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Amazon launches DDoS protection service AWS Shield

Amazon logo

Following the massive attack that took down the servers of the DNS service provider Dyn and a number of high profile websites including Netflix, Twitter, Spotify and Reddit last month, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced a new technology to protect sites against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

The new tool, which is called AWS Shield, was announced at the company's re:Invent developer event in Las Vegas. Amazon's own site was affected by the attack on Dyn and the company has now decided to launch its own DDoS protection service to ensure that its site and those that use AWS are able to withstand future attacks.

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DevDocs is an offline developer’s documentation browser for Chrome

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You're working in your browser, testing some new web development project, but there's a problem. And you've no idea why. So you open some documentation in a separate browser tab, more in your development environment, maybe a separate PDF or two until you find whatever you need.

Alternatively, you could just install DevDocs, a free Chrome app which gives you speedy access to documentation for 190 technologies from one interface.

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Windows apps on Android? Wine will do it... but not just yet

windows-on-android

Wine is well known to Linux and Mac users for opening up the possibility of running Windows software on their preferred operating system. The self-referentially-named software (Wine Is Not an Emulator) is due for a new release in the next few weeks, but the hoped-for Windows-on-Android support is not yet there.

That said, it is in the pipeline. Wine developers are working on integrating the existing CrossOver Android software into the open source Windows API. This will allow for Windows software to run in Android, but it won't make it into the up-coming Wine 2.0, and there are limitations.

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Apple letter all but confirms plans for self-driving cars and commitment to privacy

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We've known (or at least believed) for some time that Apple has been working on some form of automated vehicle, but the company has remained tight-lipped about what it is up to. Now, however, a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the strongest official hint that Apple is working on something.

The letter -- written by Apple's Director of Product Integrity, Steve Kenner, back in November -- has just come to light, in it Apple praises NHTSA's policies on automated vehicles, and stresses the importance of machine learning, data sharing, and user privacy in ensuring the development and safety of such technologies.

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