Latest Technology News

Will you be prepared if disaster strikes?

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No one ever wants to focus on worst-case scenarios. However, the unfortunate fact of the matter is this: terrible things can happen. Tornados, hurricanes, fires, blizzards, and floods -- they can damage and destroy both personal and intellectual property within seconds. That’s why preparation for the aftermath of such disasters is crucial -- and with September being named National Disaster Preparedness Month, what better time to formulate a plan of attack than now?

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, about 30 percent of small businesses will experience some sort of natural disaster. Even worse than the consequences that often follow in the wake of such catastrophes is the fact that complete restoration of important data, files, and applications is not always guaranteed. All too often, businesses that fail to properly prepare for disaster lose critical information and assets. The end result? A business that is past the point of recovery and instead must rebuilt itself from the ground up.

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Smartphone market share and usage by country

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With the arrival of the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus), this may be a good time to review smartphone market share and usage share trends around the world. As these data points reflect the tail end of the iPhone's product cycle, we should expect a market share bounce over the coming months. On the other hand, movements in usage share are unlikely to be as sharp.

As always, market share data is sourced from Kantar and usage share data is from Statcounter. My rationale for using these particular metrics was laid out in my last post on the topic:

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Microsoft joins 'It's On Us' movement to fight sexual violence and rape with Bing

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Regardless of sex or gender, all people deserve respect and to be treated with decency. Whether a man sexually assaults a woman or a woman assaults a man, it is not only wrong, but deplorable and disgusting.

Sexual violence and rape is an epidemic, and it is time for the world to take a stand. Sexual assault cannot be tolerated and victims must be empowered to report it and not be ashamed. According to Microsoft, "1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college". Today, the company is doing its part to help, by making it easer to get support and report the assault with Bing.

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Pope Francis partners with Google for Scholas education platform

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Regardless of your opinions on religion or beliefs, you cannot deny that the Pope is a powerful man who can enact change. In other words, even though he is a mortal man like the rest of us, when he speaks, people listen.

Pope Francis has been revered by the world's poor, as he has largely shunned riches, in exchange for a more modest lifestyle. Now, the Pope is working with Google services to communicate with young people and bring them together for educational purposes. You see, Pope Francis is in charge of a new learning platform, called Scholas.

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Best Windows 8 apps this week

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Ninety-ninth in a series. Welcome to this week's selection of the best apps and games that were published to Microsoft's Windows Store.

This week saw some strong releases such as Star Wars: Commander, another official Star Wars game that looks to become as successful as Star Wars: Assault Team.

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Facebook to fire news at you faster than ever

Facebook to fire news at you faster than ever

Part of the point of Facebook, in addition to making it easier to keep in touch with people, is to keep abreast of news. The social network's algorithms are such that you don’t just see a chronological stream of updates from the people, companies, and pages you follow -- stories can 'surface' in a seemingly random order, and may appear some time after they were actually relevant. Facebook is aware that it can deliver posts in something of an untimely fashion, and it's now going to do something about it. It makes a change from forcing users to display their real names...

The social network is rolling out a couple of updates that will help to ensure that stories that appear in your News Feeds are more relevant. There have been complaints that Facebook is slow to start pushing trending topics -- be it sports events or big news stories -- and this is being addressed. Should friends of yours link to, or interact with, a story that is currently trending, it is "more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner". You may well have thought that this is how things worked before, but apparently this is not the case.

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The Internet of Things -- Chasing the waves

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Few people have heard of microcontrollers, but a great many people own them. They are found in household appliances such as fridges and TVs. They are small computers that, for example, manage the dials and display on a washing machine, open and close the taps, start and stop the drum, and perform other functions for the user's selected wash program. More complex devices have several microcontrollers. A car, for example, might contain 30 of them.

Manufactured by the million, and costing a few dollars each, they have been a standard feature of product design for years. What is new is that they are becoming connected to the Internet. The result is the Internet of Things. What does this mean for consumers? Some eye-catching possibilities have been widely advertised, such as the ability to turn up the heating in your home on your way back from vacation. But less spectacular benefits, such as higher reliability and lower maintenance costs, could be more important.

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EaseUS Todo PC Trans adds support for non-direct transfer of data and apps

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EaseUS has released EaseUS Todo PCTrans 8.0 Free, an updated version of its PC transfer software for migrating data and applications to a new computer.

The new build no longer requires users to transfer directly between two active PCs on the same network. Instead, the program follows more established tools like Laplink in allowing users to save their data to an image file, which allows them to migrate in their own time, or install a new version of Windows on the same PC before transferring back their data and apps.

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epCheck: track your favourite TV shows from the Windows desktop

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The easiest way to track your favorite TV shows is usually to download a suitable app, or maybe sign up at a website. There are a huge number of options, and the only real challenge is finding out which one is best for you.

But what if you’d like a solution that works offline? One that doesn’t involve opening yet another account somewhere, and runs happily on the Windows desktop? Then you need to check out epCheck.

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UAG announces military-grade case for Microsoft's Surface Pro 3

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The Surface Pro 3 is, for me, hands-down the most significant device released in 2014. It is designed for both productivity and entertainment and delivers on both. Unfortunately, the tablet can be rather expensive which makes me a bit nervous handling it. Don't get me wrong, it is not fragile, I just cherish it and do not want to break it.

Luckily, a new case is coming on the scene, which should protect the Surface Pro 3 from accidental drops. Urban Armor Gear, a company that makes hardcore, yet affordable, cases for smartphones and tablets announces military-grade Surface Pro 3 protection.

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Panic over! Twitpic is given a stay of execution after a buyer is found

Panic over! Twitpic is given a stay of execution after a buyer is found

Twitpic will no longer close on 25 September as the photo sharing service has found a buyer. There's not yet any word on who is behind the acquisition, but the takeaway news is that photos should be safe as Twitpic will live to fight another day.

Just a couple of weeks ago, founder Noah Everett posted the news that Twitpic was to close following something of a legal tussle with Twitter. But things have taken a turn for the better. After users scrabbled to download their images to ensure they were safe, it now transpires that the service is not going anywhere.

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Google: Android L turns data encryption on by default

photo by Slavoljub Pantelic, Shutterstock

Turning on data encryption can make a huge difference in case your Android device is lost or stolen, as it will make it extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- for a third-party to access your files. It also gives you quite a bit of time to remotely wipe your device, which means that your photos, videos, texts and whatnot have a better chance of remaining private.

And if the local authorities want to take a peek, they are also out of luck -- it's good news for those involved in criminal enterprises, and others as well. All this sounds great from a privacy and security standpoint, except that encryption has never been enabled by default in Android. But that is soon about to change.

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Windows 9 build 9841 screenshots and details leak

Start-menu

Last week we had leaked screenshots and even videos from Windows 9 build 9834, and now new screens have appeared from build 9841, or what might well be very close to the actual Technical Preview.

Whereas all the leaks last week came from WinFuture.de, these new screens come from WinSuperSite.com, which also has information on the Start menu (naturally), apps, files, personalization and more. One of the new things we learn is that anyone trying out the preview build will be able to provide feedback directly to Microsoft through a Feedback app. There can be no accusations of Microsoft not listening to customers this time around!

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Why the football Premier League needs to go digital

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The use of technology within the sporting world is extensive. Players on the pitch or court, or in the pool, make the most of sports science in their diets and training. Strength and conditioning equipment is state-of-the-art, with some of the biggest names in professional sport investing huge sums of money in training facilities.

Even the kit worn by athletes uses technological innovations to provide every advantage possible. For teams, an inch or a split second can prove vital and kit needs to reflect this.

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LastPass for iOS adds Safari extension, Touch ID integration in iOS 8

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Password-management service LastPass has unveiled LastPass for Premium 3.1.0 for iPad and iPhone users with paid-for LastPass accounts.

Version 3.1.0 taps into two new iOS 8 features to deliver direct support for Safari and Touch ID integration, allowing users to unlock LastPass using their finger rather than a passcode or master password.

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