Latest Technology News

Microsoft cannot trademark Skype in Europe

skype_logo

It's a name that is, for many people, synonymous with voice and video chats: Skype. But in Europe, Microsoft has just been told that the name of its communication tool cannot be trademarked because it is too similar to that of broadcaster Sky.

Microsoft has previously been forced to rename its cloud storage service SkyDrive to OneDrive, but at the moment there is no suggestion that Skype will have to be renamed. The company has indicated that it intends to appeal against the ruling.

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PlayStation Now subscriptions come to PS3 -- Vita to follow

PlayStation 4 users suffer Blue Light of Death -- Sony may have a fix

Sony is bringing its PlayStation Now game streaming feature to PS3 users. It's something that has been available to gamers with a PlayStation 4 since the beginning of the year, but from May 12, it's something that owners of older consoles will be able to take advantage of.

PlayStation Now allows for the streaming of more than 100 PS3 games, and a 7-day free trial is available for anyone who wants to test the waters. With cloud-based game saves it's possible to start a game on one device, and finish it on another, and Sony says there's more to come.

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Rombertik strikes! In 10 seconds, this computer will self-destruct

Rombertik strikes! In 10 seconds, this computer will self-destruct

Viruses can be a serious problem and they take myriad forms. Viruses have become increasingly sophisticated over the years, particularly in the methods used to try to evade detection. Now Cisco's Talos security researchers have discovered the Rombertik which goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid analysis.

Researchers managed to reverse-engineer the virus and found "multiple layers of obfuscation and anti-analysis functionality". One sample was found to include code that would destroy the MBR of the host computer if analysis or debugging is attempted.

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My definition of 'modern' computing

Cloud Computing

Late yesterday I posted my review of Chromebook Pixel LS, which Google released in early March. The write-up is purposely rah-rah to impose the importance of embracing contextual cloud computing and to shakeup preconceptions about Macs being the tools of the creative elite. I also call "dumb" developers who may receive free Pixels during Google I/O later this month only to then sell them online.

One reader comment, from SmallSherm caught my attention, for accusing me of calling him (or her) stupid and for insulting other readers. After writing my response, I wondered how few people would ever see the interaction, which I regard as being quite valuable. So in the interest of fostering further discussion, I present our two comments for your Tuesday thought train.

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Did you pull a boner and buy a Windows RT Surface? Microsoft offers redemption

bonerman

Believe it or not, I loved Windows RT; hell, I still do. My Surface 2 still gets a good amount of use for gaming and web surfing. Unfortunately, the limited nature of the operating system (a positive from a security standpoint) was a turn-off to consumers, and rightfully so; Windows that can't run legacy programs? Doomed from the start.

While Microsoft has promised to deliver some Windows 10 functionality to Windows RT, the full OS will not be delivered. In other words, for the most part, RT-based machines are obsolete. If you pulled a boner and bought one, I feel your pain; however, Microsoft will pay you cash for that mistake as long as you put it towards the all-new Surface 3 (running real Windows).

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ImmuniWeb takes a fresh approach to detecting website vulnerability

Website testing

As apps and commerce increasingly move online they provide a tempting target for hackers. It's important that websites are properly tested for vulnerabilities but this can be a time consuming process and many smaller organizations lack the resources and expertise to do it themselves.

High-Tech Bridge's ImmuniWeb offers a fresh approach to website vulnerability assessment. It uses a hybrid approach combining automated testing with the skills of security professionals.

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Android Lollipop close to 10 percent market share, KitKat still reigns supreme

Sony will only update Xperia Z series Android phones to Lollipop

It has been a while since I last talked about Android distribution numbers. At the time, the first Jelly Bean iteration claimed the top spot, while Gingerbread was still on the podium. Lots of things have since changed, so it is now time to take another look at the state of Android releases.

As always, we start with the latest Android distribution and work our way back to the oldest. As you know, Android 5.1 Lollipop is the newest release available, officially announced two months ago, in early-March. However, it was made available starting a month earlier, since reaching 0.7 percent usage share, based on data collected by Google during a week-long period that ended on May 4. No popular handsets ship with it, and few software upgrades to the second Lollipop incarnation are available today.

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Birst shapes data analytics around the user

Data analytics people

Data is in many ways the lifeblood of business, yet there are many different ways to present and use the results of analysis.

Business intelligence specialist Birst is launching its Birst 5X Adaptive User Experience which allows users to work with data in the way they want without suppressing their curiosity and creativity.

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Apple releases guidelines for third-party Apple Watch bands

Apple releases guidelines for third party Apple Watch Bands

It's been a little while since orders opened for the Apple Watch -- even if anyone who placed an order has quite a wait on their hands -- and now developers are being given the chance to create third-party bands. Apple has produced some detailed guidelines that reveal precisely what is expected of third-party accessories.

For the moment, Apple is only talking about bands, and no mention has yet been made of other third-party accessories such as chargers. Even if you're not a developer thinking of cashing in on the popularity of the Apple Watch, the incredibly detailed design drawings that are provided make for fascinating viewing.

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Microsoft now sells the inexpensive Lumia 435 Windows Phone -- should you buy it?

Lumia 435 T-Mobile Microsoft

Low-end Windows Phones make great first smartphones for those on a budget. They deliver a solid user experience, offer expandable storage, are dependable and feel fast, generally at sub $100 prices. The low cost also makes them good backup smartphones.

There are a couple of very-affordable, interesting Windows Phone 8.1 devices around, like Lumia 530 and Lumia 635, but Microsoft just added the newer Lumia 435 to its online store lineup. Should you get it?

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Microsoft Office 2016 Public Preview now available

Office200-175

Microsoft has announced the release of Microsoft Office 2016 Public Preview for Windows 7 and later.

The build is free for everyone to try out, no Office 365 subscription required. Although beware, there is one potential complication: the preview won’t run alongside Office 2013, so you’ll need to uninstall the older version first.

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HP brings performance testing solutions to Microsoft Azure

Software analyst testing

Developers are under ever increasing pressure to roll out applications quickly, and that means performance testing is more important than ever to ensure they work as they should.

To address this HP is using Microsoft Ignite to announce updates to its performance testing tools and that it’s making them available on the Azure marketplace.

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Microsoft slams Android's update policy, announces 24x7 update plans for Windows 10 devices

windows update

Microsoft values its customers’ security, and it wants them to know that. The company announces its plans to frequently update Windows 10-powered desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets. At Ignite 2015 event, the company says that it will be pushing security updates every day instead of delivering them once a month.

Home users will be getting updates more often than ever, Windows chief Terry Myerson notes. Businesses, however, will remain sited on their monthly cycle -- popularly known as Patch Tuesday -- as the company plans to first test the update with home users and ensure that those codes aren’t breaking anything. Sounds reasonable.

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Meerkat vs Periscope: Which video streaming app is best?

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The last few weeks have seen two new live video- streaming apps break into the market in a big way. Meerkat hit first and garnered plenty of attention, but was quickly usurped by the introduction of Periscope, which Twitter purchased earlier this year.

Despite Meerkat’s early lead, Twitter has been throwing its weight around to keep Periscope on top, including disabling some of Meerkat’s Twitter integration features. Still, the race between the two remains neck and neck, with celebrities like Aaron Paul, Ashton Kutcher, and Madonna taking sides. But what are the real differences between the two apps? I’ve been using them both for about a week now, taking a close look at the functionality as a watcher and as a streamer and here’s what I have discovered.

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Windows Media Center is dead -- Microsoft promises DVD alternative for Windows 10

RIP

When Microsoft released Windows XP Media Center Edition in 2002, I remember being awestruck. It was as if I was looking into the future; surely everyone in the world would eventually have giant towers next to their televisions running Windows. The reality? Not so much. The operating system only shipped with pre-built machines that were quite costly. Ultimately, it became freely available for most of the common Vista and Windows 7 versions, but was put on life support with Windows 8, where it was a paid add-on. Digital TV ultimately killed much interest, as adding PCI-e tuner cards and CableCARDs were a huge pain in the butt (the rear-end pain was often caused by Cable TV providers).

Fast forward to 2015 and we are on the verge of a new version of Microsoft's operating system, Windows 10, and many people have been wondering about the status of Media Center. Well, I am happy to say it is dead. The clunky bolt-on will not be available anymore. Why am I happy? Storing tons of content locally and playing it back is a dead concept; people need to move on. Hell, nowadays I would guess it is used mostly by pirates with massive hard drives. The future (and the present, really) is streaming both movies and music from the Internet. If you are a Luddite that depends on Windows Media Center for watching DVDs, you will be happy to know that an alternative is coming to Windows 10.

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