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Microsoft goes Down Under -- retail store coming to Australia

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A visit to the Microsoft Store can be a very fun experience. If you're like me, playing with laptops, tablets and Xbox is like going to an amusement park. Unfortunately, the closest Microsoft store to my home is about an hour away at a mall. This means I cannot go as often as I want. If you think an hour commute is bad, however, imagine the poor people of Australia -- they have to board an airplane to visit one!

Luckily for the Australian people, this will soon change. You see, a Microsoft Store is opening in Australia for the first time ever. In other words, Microsoft is going Down Under.

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OnePlus One invites are dead, but OnePlus 2 will resurrect them

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I am a huge gadget guy, and yet I have never owned an iPhone because it is too expensive and restrictive. Android is my mobile platform of choice for a number of reasons. It is a Linux-based operating system (sweet), it has an accessible file system (awesome), and the handsets can be affordable (woo-hoo). This is in stark contrast to Apple's rotten iOS ideology.

While the expensive (yet not restrictive) Nexus 6 is my current smartphone, I did consider a different, less costly model before I got it -- the OnePlus One. That Android phone is very affordable and powerful, but it had one fatal flaw -- a lame invite scheme. Whether invites were implemented due to strong demand or as a way to create perceived demand, it rubbed me the wrong way. I'm not into playing games when it comes to spending my hard-earned money. Luckily, this is changing. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of announcing the phone, OnePlus is killing the invite system for it. Yes, anyone can buy the One at any time (as long as there is stock). Unfortunately, not all of the news is good.

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Download your Google search history for some amusing reading

Download your Google search history for some amusing reading

Google collects a lot of data about its users -- a lot of data. Much of this data is used for advertising purposes but there's also a lot of data that you might want to make use of yourself... even if it's only for entertainment.

All those searches you performed when you were drunk? These are now available to download! Brace yourself for what could turn into hours of amusement -- or possibly sphincter tightening embarrassment -- as a new addition to Google History means you can grab a copy of this history for posterity, and gain some interesting stats into the bargain.

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Now you can Direct Message (almost) anyone on Twitter

Now you can Direct Message (almost) anyone on Twitter

Twitter today announces a number of key changes to the way its messaging system works. Until now it has only been possible to exchange a private Direct Message with another user if you both follow each other. This all changes as Twitter introduces the ability to DM anyone as long as they have the feature enabled on their account.

Just last week, Twitter announced that it will use a Dublin-based branch to handle all non-US account data but today's news is all about communication. If you're happy to receive DMs from anyone on Twitter, you can flip the switch on a setting that makes this possible.

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My Two months with Moto 360 [review]

Moto 360 Docked

A smartwatch by any other name is compromise. The question: How much are you willing to pay, if anything, for the privilege? No matter what any manufacturer promises, battery life will never be enough, particularly when daily recharging is the minimum requirement. If you use the wristwear as prescribed, no less is demanded, regardless of the device maker. None delivers daily use without sacrificing something.

Nearly all these mini-computers on the wrist aren't smart enough. You need a phone, too. Is two of one and half-dozen of the other worth the trouble? The answer depends much on your lifestyle. If you text and drive, and can't break the habit, a smartwatch could save your life or others. If your mobile handset feels like a ball and chain, adopting glance-and-go lifestyle can liberate you. But if your smartphone is practically surgically attached, for its frequent use, you shouldn't add another tech accessory. If your phone battery often runs out, because you forget to plug in, don't multiply your troubles. If you don't wear a watch now, and haven't for years, don't bother.

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Buffalo announces rugged MiniStation Extreme NFC USB 3.0 hard drive

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While many people focus on speed and capacity when buying storage devices, an often overlooked aspect is security. Of course, not everything necessarily needs to be encrypted and protected; while Aunt Edith's recipes and your family reunion photos are valuable to you, they aren't exactly the target of hackers or rogue government nations.

If you do need to encrypt and protect files, however, there are many options available to you. Today, Buffalo announces a unique drive, which offers NFC to securely access the hardware-encrypted drive. Rather than using biometrics or a password, an NFC smart card is all you need to unlock the rugged, water and dust resistant, military-grade MiniStation Extreme NFC USB 3.0 hard drive.

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So much for Apple exclusivity, PlayOn gets HBO NOW

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When Apple announced HBO NOW for Apple TV people were riveted by the fact the company had once again pulled off a deal reminiscent of iTunes music deals. Except the rumors claimed the exclusivity would last through July and it didn't. The app quickly came to other services and then the channel itself launched on Sling TV, making the app somewhat unneeded.

Now things progress further as PlayOn is offering HBO NOW. The app has long been expected and anticipated as it gives viewers the ability to watch the premium channel without the previous need of having a cable or satellite subscription -- something HBO GO is saddled with. It comes just in time for some folks (or perhaps too late) as HBO is taking action against those who've downloaded episodes of Game of Thrones illegally.

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One Week Later: Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones on my daily Lumia 925

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Microsoft made it pretty clear: Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones is still only meant for serious technical testers only. Of anything I've learned after one full week using my daily Lumia 925 on the preview release, it's that this OS is far from ready for primetime. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, per se.

I decided to write up some of my thoughts about Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones 10051 before I rolled back my phone to Windows Phone 8.1. Yes, willingly, I spent the last work week using my daily Lumia 925 on preview build 10051, the latest and only second release Microsoft has publicly doled out for the community.

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Microsoft enters the PaaS market with Azure Service Fabric

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Cloud computing has stepped up the pace of app development, with many businesses coming under pressure to deliver new services fast.

Following on from last month's launch of the Azure IoT Suite, tech giant Microsoft is stepping into the platform as a service (PaaS) space with Azure Service Fabric.

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Divoom Voombox-Outdoor portable Bluetooth speaker [Review]

Divoom_Voombox-Outdoor - 1 (1)

Smartphone speakers are rubbish when it comes to playing music. There are some exceptions, like HTC's One M flagships, but, generally speaking, the sound quality just isn't there. There is only so much you can ask for from a tiny little speaker, trapped inside a small shell. So, if you want more oomph, you will have to hook up your smartphone to an external speaker.

Of course, if you want something that you can carry with you, you should actually be looking at a portable speaker. An interesting such offering is Divoom's rugged Voombox-Outdoor, which can connect to your smartphone either through a cable or, better yet, via Bluetooth. Here is what you should know about it.

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Android Wear update brings always-on apps, Wi-Fi support and improved navigation

Android Wear update brings always-on apps, Wi-Fi support and improved navigation

Much as Apple would like you to think otherwise, Apple Watch is yet to blow other wearables out of the water. Smartwatches are still something of an emerging technology, but Google has managed to carve out yet another niche for itself with Android Wear. Today the company unleashes an update that aims to make Android-powered watches easier to use.

The first major addition is support for always-on apps. Most Android Wear watches included support for displaying the time round the clock (sorry!) but this feature has now been expanded to other apps. If you're using your watch to get directions or follow a shopping list, you can opt to keep the relevant app active at all times. The update has more to offer too.

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The top 5 reasons why IT projects fail

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Research suggests that large IT projects are at far greater risk of failure than smaller ones. McKinsey revealed that 17 percent of IT projects budgeted at $15 million or higher go so badly as to threaten the company’s existence, and more than 40 percent of them fail.

However, regardless of business size IT projects are failing everyday -- some are big budget and high profile and make the headlines, others receive less attention, but can be equally damaging to those concerned. But why and what can you do to prevent failure?

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Could Windows 10 really be set to arrive in July?

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There were a few raised eyebrows when Microsoft announced it was planning a summer release for Windows 10, its next operating system. Most people assumed the tech giant was anticipating a late summer release -- September possibly -- but now it seems we might be seeing the new OS much earlier than anyone could have predicted.

According to AMD, and as reported by The Verge, Windows 10 will launch in late July. Which seems like an incredibly optimistic target.

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Containerization is a winning strategy for smarter BYOD management

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Mobile devices have become the preferred means of accessing data and applications, wherever and whenever individuals desire. Today, on average, individuals have two to three mobile devices. Employees expect to use their own preferred tools and technologies to do their work; personal mobile devices are chief among them.

Hence, the BYOD movement is now mainstream and growing. In fact, Forrester estimates that 70 percent of mobile professionals will conduct their work on personal smart devices by 2018.

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D-Link says sorry for shoddy security and sloppy patching of its routers

D-Link says sorry for shoddy security and sloppy patching of its routers

D-Link has issued an apology to its customers for an on-going security issue with many of its routers. A problem with the Home Network Administration Protocol (HNAP) means that it is possible to bypass authorization and run commands with escalated privileges.

The list of routers affected by the issue is fairly lengthy, and D-Link has already issued one patch. But rather than fixing the problem, last week's update left routers wide open to exactly the same problem. As it stands at the moment, a firmware patch is still being produced for a total of 17 routers. In the meantime, all D-Link has to offer is an apology.

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