Latest Technology News

No, Microsoft isn't taking Android's future out of Google's hands -- here's why

MS Android

Earlier this week, Cyanogen Inc announced that it has entered into a partnership with Microsoft to bundle some apps into its future Android-based operating system. While the companies meticulously chalked out most of the specifics of their collaboration -- and how it wouldn't much affect consumers in the coming months -- many people and even some news outlets are having a hard time understanding these facts, and have started to make bold, misleading conclusions.

Wired, for instance, believes that this tie-up between the two companies will end up taking Android’s future out of Google’s hands. I think they are wrong, and much to the contrary, I believe that this alliance will only be good for Google (and Android). Here’s why.

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PopTrayU is a very configurable email notifier

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As email notifiers go, PopTrayU might seem a little old-fashioned. There’s no flashy interface, no specific support for webmail accounts, and the project’s SourceForge page takes care to highlight its "Vista/Win 7 compatibility fixes", maybe not something to boast about in 2015.

But if you forget the first impressions, look a little deeper, you’ll find it’s a great way to see alerts about new emails in your POP3 and IMAP4 accounts.

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WhatsApp now lets you backup conversations to Google Drive; celebrates 800 million monthly active users

whatsapp

WhatsApp, the popular instant messaging client, has reached 800 million monthly active users, company’s CEO Jan Koum shared the stat on his Facebook account last night. Interestingly enough, the company has just rolled out an update to its Android client to include an online conversation backup option. Users now have the option to take a backup of their conversation to Google Drive.

The updated version of WhatsApp’s Android client -- v2.12.45 -- is available to download through company’s official website. At the time of writing, this option wasn’t available to WhatsApp’s iPhone and Windows Phone clients, as well as not live on Google’s Play Store.

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Twitter moves non-US accounts to Ireland away from the NSA

Twitter moves non-US accounts to Ireland away from the NSA

Twitter has updated its privacy policy, creating a two-lane service that treats US and non-US users differently. If you live in the US, your account is controlled by San Francisco-based Twitter Inc, but if you're elsewhere in the world (anywhere else) it's handled by Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland. The changes also affect Periscope.

What's the significance of this? Twitter Inc is governed by US law, it is obliged to comply with NSA-driven court requests for data. Data stored in Ireland is not subject to the same obligation. Twitter is not alone in using Dublin as a base for non-US operations; Facebook is another company that has adopted the same tactic. The move could also have implications for how advertising is handled in the future.

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Microsoft Open Technologies is closing -- is that good or bad news for open source?

nerd

Microsoft is a company that can do no wrong lately. It is wisely focusing on devices and services -- its cross-platform support is a total 180 degree turn from years past. Hell, the company is even embracing open source lately, showing that it is listening to customers and taking advantage of industry trends.

When Microsoft Open Technologies was founded as a subsidiary of Microsoft -- under Steve Ballmer's reign -- many in the open source community hailed it as a major win, and it was. Today, however, the subsidiary is shutting down and being folded into Microsoft. While some will view this as a loss for open source, I disagree; Microsoft has evolved so much under Satya Nadella, that a separate subsidiary is simply no longer needed.

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Office Universal apps preview coming to Windows 10 for phones very soon

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Microsoft comes under fire quite often for seeming to favor Android and iOS over its own mobile platforms. Apple and Google's mobile operating system have been first in line for all manner of Microsoft apps and services, and it was much the same story with the mobile versions of Office.

Today Microsoft is taking steps to allay the concerns of Windows Phone users -- you have not been forgotten! Specifically, the company says that the preview version of Office Universal apps will, or at least should, be made available for Windows 10 for phones by the end of the month.

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Reflector 2 adds Android mirroring, Google Cast support

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Squirrels has announced Reflector 2.0 with new support for mirroring connections from Google Cast-enabled Chromebooks and Android devices.

As before, the program can mirror iPads and iPhones to Windows or Mac, and users are able to connect both iOS and Android devices simultaneously.

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Does it boil? Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone 6 in hot water

boiling

The Galaxy S6 has been subjected to a number of different stress tests since it hit shelves, including full-on bend tests, and simple drop tests -- plus being run over by a car in one case, which it survived and still remained usable.

And here’s another -- this time, the Galaxy S6’s foe is boiling water, which it’s being dipped into alongside an iPhone 6. So which handset will be able to stand the boiling heat for longest?

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Google cleans up URLs in mobile search results with breadcrumbs

Google cleans up URLs in mobile search results with breadcrumbs

Google is revamping the way URLs appear in search results on mobile devices. Smaller screens have a tendency to truncate lengthier URLs, and even when this doesn’t happen diminutive screen size can make addresses difficult to read.

To combat this problem, the search giant is introducing a new breadcrumb trail presentation with a view to making the information easy to absorb at a glance. But what does this change actually mean?

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US electronic voting machines incredibly easy to hack

Electronic-voting-machine

Electronic voting machines used for US elections between 2002 and 2014 would have been extremely easy to hack, according to reports.

The AVS WinVote machines were used during three presidential campaigns in the state of Virginia and would receive an "F-minus" for security, with many using "abcde" or "admin" as passwords.

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Security professionals worry about technology sprawl as threats evolve

network virus spread sprawl

A new study of nearly 14,000 information security professionals worldwide shows that two-thirds of respondents are concerned about the addition of multiple security technologies, often referred to as sprawl.

The Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) produced by (ISC)² a not-for-profit membership body of certified information and software security professionals worldwide, is largest study of the information security profession ever conducted.

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Best Windows apps this week

halo

One-hundred and twenty seven in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps and games released for Windows in the past seven days.

This week saw the release of several high profile apps and games such as the latest addition to the Halo franchise, Halo: Spartan Strike, and the relaxing Game Over.

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Zuckerberg says Internet.org is not anti-net neutrality... but it is

Zuckerberg says Internet.org is not anti-net neutrality... but it is

A few days ago Mark Zuckerberg conducted a Q&A on Facebook. Despite tens of thousands of comments, very little of interest came out of the session -- he works 50-60 hours a week, likes Oculus (surprise, surprise), and he stands behind his Internet.org project which is providing internet access to people all over the world, including those in remote and developing locations. As is to be expected from a Q&A session, Zuckerberg also found that he had criticism levelled at him in addition to questions, including criticisms of his beloved Internet.org.

Some people pointed out that even in the US there is still a digital divide, while others complained that Internet.org goes against the principles of net neutrality. This obviously struck a nerve because the Facebook founder felt the need to defend the program and express his support for net neutrality. My colleague Manish Singh wrote about this, but is Zuckerberg right? Can Internet.org and net neutrality really live happily side by side?

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Google Chrome on Windows XP support extends until the end of 2015

reprieve

Believe it or not, a year has passed since Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP. And even though the 13 year-old operating system no longer receives security updates -- at least not officially -- it is still being used by roughly 17 percent of Windows users. For some companies it is reason enough to continue to support Windows XP today, even though its maker has long left it for dead. And Google is one of them.

Six months after Windows XP support ended, Google announced that its Chrome browser would continue to be supported on the OS with "regular updates and security patches until at least April 2015". That was done in order to give its users more time to finish migrating to a newer Windows release, one that would, hopefully, be officially supported by Microsoft for many more years to come. Obviously, that hasn't gone as expected. But instead of pulling the plug, Google is now giving Chrome users on Windows XP another reprieve.

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Red Canary seeks to bring simpler endpoint security to businesses

laptop shield defense

The endpoint is the most vulnerable link in enterprise security, constantly under attack and prone to human error. Yet the security products designed to protect it are subject to high levels of false positives.

The result is that providing effective protection can be complex and stretch the resources and budget of even quite large organizations.

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