Latest Technology News

Microsoft is setting Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL up to fail

Failure Fail Grade F

Microsoft appears to be making sure that its new Windows 10 Mobile flagships, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, have no chance of succeeding in the fierce high-end smartphone market. The software giant has, once again, made the terrible mistake of going down the carrier exclusivity path, which will hurt sales across major markets like US and Europe and significantly affect the platform's credibility.

Microsoft has decided that its long-term Windows Phone carrier partner, AT&T, should be the sole mobile operator to offer Lumia 950, while in Europe the flagship smartphone will only be carried by Deutsche Telekom (and, hopefully, its subsidiaries). Even worse, there seems to be no talk of carrier availability for Lumia 950 XL. And you wonder why Windows Phone's market share just can't seem to grow...

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Kiss goodbye to the Control Panel in Windows 10, its days are numbered


For Windows stalwarts, the move to Windows 10 has meant embracing a number of changes. Since Windows 8, Microsoft has been keen to push its modern interface, and this is a drive that continues with renewed strength in Windows 10. In ushering in the new, the old has to be let go -- and one of the next features for the chop is the Control Panel.

At the moment, Windows 10 users have something of a strange, split experience when customizing the operating system and changing settings. Some things are handled by the old-fashioned Control Panel, others by the Settings app. Microsoft's Gabe Aul and Brandon LeBlanc have made it clear that the Control Panel is due to die.

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Best Windows apps this week


One-hundred and forty-nine in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps and games released for Windows 8.x/10 in the past seven days.

No best app of the week this time, even though several good games and apps were released.

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US government will not force companies to decode encrypted data... for now


The Obama administration has announced that it will not require companies to decrypt encrypted messages for law enforcement agencies. This is being heralded as a 'partial victory' by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; partial because, as reported by the Washington Post, the government "will not -- for now — call for [such] legislation".

This means that at the moment companies will not be forced to build backdoors into their products, but there is no guarantee that this won’t happen further down the line. The government wants to continue talks with the technology industry to find a solution, but leaving things in limbo for the time being will create a sense of unease on both sides of the debate.

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PC shipments decline in Windows 10's launch quarter


In Windows 10's launch quarter, PC shipments declined by a considerable margin compared to the same period a year prior. Year-over-year, shipments are down by 7.7 percent according to Gartner or 10.8 percent based on IDC's findings.

It would be easy to blame Windows 10 for the PC market's decline, however it is actually weak demand for new hardware which is hampering sales. IDC expects the effects of Windows 10's availability to be felt in the long-run. Gartner reveals, based on its 2015 personal technology survey, that 50 percent of consumers intend to get a new PC in the next year.

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Windows apps on Android will soon be a reality


If you have an iPhone, you're stuck with running iOS apps; if you have an Android phone, you're stuck with Android apps. At least that used to be the case. For desktop platforms such as OS X and Linux, tools and emulators exist that make it possible to run software designed for a different platform. CodeWeavers produce CrossOver which enables PC games and applications to run on non-PC platforms.

At the moment, CrossOver is available for Mac and Linux, but there are plans to bring the tool to Android. This means that, ultimately, it should be possible to run Windows software on an Android phone or tablet.

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Sony PlayStation 4 Universal Media Remote finally coming this month -- order now


Nowadays, video game consoles are not just about gaming. You can use an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 to watch Blu-ray discs, or stream music and movies too. While this arguably impacts the focus of the machine, it also presents a better value to consumers.  Since the PS4 doubles as a media player, how the heck has Sony not yet released a proper remote control? Many PS4 owners have been clamoring for one.

Well, PlayStation 4 fans, you are finally about to get your wish. Starting now, you can pre-order the official Universal Media Remote. It will ship this month and the price is actually very reasonable. Will you buy it?

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Mozilla sets out its proposed principles for content blocking


With Apple embracing ad blocking and the likes of AdBlock Plus proving more popular than ever, content blocking is making the headlines at the moment. There are many sides to the debate about blocking ads -- revenue for sites, privacy concerns for visitors, speeding up page loads times (Google even allows for the display of ads with its AMP Project), and so on -- but there are no signs that it is going to go away.

Getting in on the action, Mozilla has set out what it believes are some reasonable principles for content blocking that will benefit everyone involved. Three cornerstones have been devised with a view to ensuring that content providers and content consumers get a fair deal, and you can help to shape how they develop.

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Android is for Muggles -- Harry Potter 'Enhanced Editions' for Apple hardware only


While I was a bit old for the Harry Potter books when they first came out (so I thought at the time), I did enjoy the films. As someone who is extraordinarily average, I can understand the allure of a character like Harry, who goes from nothing to greatness.

Reading the series has been on my to-do list for quite some time now, as many people tell me it is not a children's-only affair. Today, Apple announces that it is enhancing the Harry Potter books on iBooks only. If you own a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you can experience the stories all over again, or for the first time, in the best way possible.

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Porsche believes Android Auto collects too much data, opts for CarPlay

Porsche badge

Porsche won’t install Google’s Android Auto system in its future 911 models because the American tech giant is asking for too much personal (or should I say, mechanical) information about the vehicles.

Instead, it will go for Apple’s CarPlay system.

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New mobile CRM solution for smaller businesses

business handshake

Small businesses are no different from larger ones when seeking to get the most productivity out of each working day. However, they don't always have access to the kind of productivity software used by larger businesses.

To help smaller companies compete, client engagement specialist vCita is launching a new solution built from the ground up to support on-the-go lifestyles of service-based SMBs.

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US tech giants and the (untaxed) billions in offshore accounts

Streaming video service Hang w/ shares its profits with users -- others take note!

A recently released report by advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice has revealed the staggering amount of money being held in offshore accounts by US technology firms.

Offshore Shell Games 2015 discloses that almost 72 percent of businesses listed on the Fortune 500 operated tax haven subsidiaries as of the end of last year.

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Logitech announces affordable z533 Multimedia Speakers

JPG 72 dpi (RGB)-107178_Z533_feat

Bluetooth speakers are very convenient; they are typically lightweight and portable. Even though some wireless speakers sound great, you are usually better off with a wired connection when possible. For instance, if you want to connect speakers to your desktop or laptop, and they will never leave your desk, Bluetooth is a bad choice -- go wired, bro!

Today, Logitech announces a wired-only 2.1 speaker system that looks great, and is remarkably affordable. The z533 Multimedia Speakers will look beautiful on your desk. Will you buy them?

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How to confuse a self-driving car using everyday hardware

Google's self-driving car cars fleet Lexus

We've already seen that conventional cars can be vulnerable to attacks by hackers. But it seems that self-driving vehicles may be equally vulnerable.

It's possible to trick a self-driving Google car into stopping or taking evasive action using around $60 worth of hardware according to a leading security researcher.

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Corvil makes network data available across IT teams

Network security

Network data is an increasingly important resource for IT teams, particularly when it comes to analyzing and resolving security threats. But unlocking the potential of that data can be difficult.

Dublin-based analytics specialist Corvil is launching a new platform that unlocks the power of network data, with an intuitive and customizable user interface and a new data automation engine that dramatically reduces the time, expense, and complexity of working with network data.

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