Latest Technology News

Tired of privacy breaches? How to remove yourself from social networks

Unfriend

The leaking of celebrity photos which may have come from iCloud is just the latest in a series of high profile security and privacy breaches that are leading many people to question how safe their data is online.

For those who have decided enough is enough, secure transaction specialist Imprima has produced an infographic guide to "unfriending the internet" which covers how to take your personal profiles off the main social networking sites.

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Opera 24 FINAL adds new tab preview, offers Hi-DPI support in Windows

opera_new-200x175

Opera has released Opera 24 FINAL, a major new release of its web browser for Windows and Mac. It comes with three changes of note, two of which are restricted to Windows users only.

The headline new feature, which covers all platforms, sees Opera gain tab preview. By rolling the mouse over any non-active tab, users will -- after a short pause -- see a pop-up thumbnail of that tab's current contents.

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Windows Installer celebrates its 15th birthday

birthday cake balloons

With many businesses still focused on the "end of XP", an important milestone in the story of software integration will slip by largely unnoticed this year, but it should be celebrated by anyone involved in end user computing.

2014 is the time to appreciate that Windows Installer (MSI) technology is 15 years old and still going strong. That is a very long time for a technology to be as relevant and as useful in today's enterprise environments as it was when it was first released in 1999. Originally developed to facilitate the installation of Microsoft Office 2000, there remains a surprising multitude of reasons it's stuck around for so long.

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China gives Microsoft 20 days to play ball in antitrust probe

boss bully mafia cigar

China is turning up the heat in its antitrust probe into Microsoft, with the authorities laying down a deadline for Redmond to respond regarding allegations of the software giant unfairly leveraging its products.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has laid down a time limit of 20 days for Microsoft to provide a satisfactory response to the antitrust probe which is focusing on Windows and Office (Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player have also been previously picked out as bones of contention, as well).

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Yo, about that security! We're good, right?

Network security

In case you haven't heard of Yo, it's the latest breakout mobile app to go viral. Despite its single-feature capability, or perhaps because of it, the app struck a chord and rocketed to the top of Apple's App Store. Even Yo's own developers describe the app as "a fine line between stupid and genius".

While Yo was basking in the unexpected spotlight at the top of the apps chart, the next thing that happened was also unexpected. Yo got hacked. Three college students exploited a way into the app, snagged 300,000 Yo users and engaged in message spoofing. Yet Yo is hardly the first app, nor will it be the last, to get hacked.

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Firefox 32 FINAL released for desktop, shows off HTTP caching improvements and other minor tweaks

firefox_android_icon

Mozilla has released Firefox 32.0 FINAL for desktop, with Firefox for Android 32.0 due to follow.

While there are a lot of changes to both desktop and mobile builds, Firefox 32 doesn’t throw up any standout new features, instead concentrating on tweaks and minor improvements.

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Fear: The biggest barrier to change for IT

panic hands due man afraid

A new piece of research has found that while IT budgets may have grown over the last year, companies are still holding back from making changes in IT policy due to a lack of resources, and a fear of possible downtime.

Software testing and quality experts SQS conducted said research at the World Congress for Software Quality last month, and found that fear was the biggest barrier to change for IT departments.

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Apple finally opens up about why it rejects certain apps

Apple final opens up about why it rejects certain apps

It may have been something of an unknown quantity for years now. Just why was a particular app denied entry to the App Store? Now Apple -- the company so famed for its secrecy -- has finally laid its cards on the table and revealed the most common reasons apps are rejected. Taking a snapshot from the last week of August, the new Common App Rejections page on Apple's Developer site details the top ten problems that prevent apps from making their way to the App Store. Accounting for more than a quarter of rejections (14 and 8 percent respectively) are apps that do not have enough information and those that exhibit bugs.

Six percent of rejected apps fell foul of terms in the Developer Program License Agreement -- although no further breakdown is given -- and the same percentage of titles were given the thumbs down for not meeting Apple's exacting standards. "Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected". Apps that are either misleading or similar to other apps, and those with inappropriate names and artwork were also stopped in their tracks, each accounting for 5 percent of vetoed apps.

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Microsoft raises Azure availability, lowers prices

Cloud storage

Microsoft has announced service enhancements and a reduced price scheme for its Azure SQL database, as a result of customer feedback.

Microsoft has now promised to deliver a service-level agreement (SLA) of 99.99 percent availability, equivalent to a downtime of just 53 minutes per year.

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Goodbye Windows, I'm sticking with Chrome OS

HP Chromebook 11

Earlier this summer I wrote about moving to a Chromebook -- I'm working from my porch and I want something easily portable. I stated at the time that I was not sure where things would lead when the weather took a turn for the cooler. In previous years I've used a Windows 8.x (or 7) computer, as my office contains two desktops and a laptop running the Microsoft operating system as well.

Don't get me wrong -- I still see a need for the platform, but I simply don't see it for myself. I write in Word, which has a Chrome app. I edit images, which Pixlr handles quite well. Beyond that, I do little else outside of checking email and scouring the web for news.

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BBC aims to make programming sexy with new coding TV shows for kids

BBC aims to make programming sexy with new coding TV shows for kids

The BBC is looking to create a new generation of code monkeys with a programming push in schools throughout England. Of all the subjects available to study at school, computer science, IT, computing (call it what you will) isn’t exactly, you know, sexy and exciting, but the Beeb is hoping to change that. Back in the 1980s the BBC -- the UK's license free subsidized public service broadcaster -- spearheaded a drive to popularize computing in general, but particularly programming. Three decades later, the new initiative includes plans for not just one, but several programming-themed TV shows aimed at children.

The BBC has already held talks with Microsoft, BT, Google and Samsung, and has managed to sign agreements with between 10 and 20 partners to help with the new endeavor. In addition to the TV shows, there will also be a range of study guides and other material made available at BBC Bitesize, the broadcaster's online education resource. Jessica Cecil, controller of the BBC's coding and digital creative initiative, said: "It's about giving the next generation a chance to shape their world, not just be consumers in it."

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Microsoft lifts 2GB file size limit for some OneDrive users

Microsoft lifts 2GB file size limit for some OneDrive users

Cloud storage continues to increase in popularity, and as more and more demands are made of the various services that are available, limitations are easy to spot. One limitation that has irked OneDrive users for some time is the fact that it is only possible to synchronize files up to 2GB in size. Over on the OneDrive uservoice page, there have been numerous complaints from users as well as queries about when the limitation might be lifted. A couple of weeks ago Group Program Manager, Omar Shahine explained that: "It’s simply an old limit that we’ve been working on removing for far too long now. The good news is that we are actively working on this".

And work on it they did. Reddit user megaman821 noticed that larger than normal files had started to sync in his account: "I had some 2-3 GB files sitting in my OneDrive and today when I looked they were all synced. I don't know if this is a global rollout or only a few have it. Anyone else have their large files syncing?" The comment thread includes posts from users who find themselves in a similar situation, as well as those who still have the 2GB limit on their account. A quick poll in the BetaNews offices showed that it was certainly not a universal file size limit increase, so we reached out to Microsoft. A spokesperson said:

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Instantly generate sketched characters with DrawWiz

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DrawWiz is an easy-to-use app, Windows and Mac program which instantly generates professional sketches of female cartoon characters.

There's no artistic ability required, fortunately. The app provides hundreds of pre-drawn elements -- situations, face shapes, hair styles, eyes, nose, mouth -- and all you have to do is pick the ones you need.

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Your personal porn is public

stalker

The Internet is buzzing about celebrity nude photos pilfered from iCloud. The problem is bigger than Apple's security, if breached, which I doubt. Behavior is the larger concern, and how people adapt during the contextual cloud computing era. If your phone automatically syncs pictures or videos to any cloud service -- Google Photos, iCloud, OneDrive, or another -- you must assume that nothing is private.

That personal nude video you shoot on the HandyCam is very different from the one taken on Galaxy S5, iPhone 5s, or another device. I should be stating the obvious, but given pervasive attitudes about the Internet -- where people feel safe browsing in the sanctity of their domicile or WiFi coffee shop -- carelessness must be the presumption. These leaked celeb nudes, if real rather than Photoshopped, are good example. Simple rule: Don't shoot any photos or videos on a cloud-connected device you don't want everyone to see.

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Lumsing Prophet Bluetooth Speaker: a powerful wireless audio solution [Review]

Lumsing Prophet Bluetooth Speaker: a powerful wireless audio solution [Review]

We seem to have had something of a run on Lumsing products recently, but the focus has been on power -- both in-car and portable. Now it's time for something a little different from the same company: a wireless Bluetooth speaker. It can be used with phones, tablets, laptops and anything else that chucks out a Bluetooth signal; actually, there's a 3.5mm jack, so there is a wired option too. As this is, primarily, a wireless speaker, it should come as no surprise that it features a built in rechargeable battery. Charging comes via a USB port which you can connect to either a computer or a phone charger.

Let's skirt over the fact that the instruction manual provided with the speaker has a spelling mistake ("Propeht" rather than Prophet) and look at what the Prophet has to offer. This is a budget speaker, but its looks don’t give this away. The disc shape hides two speaker cones, surrounded by a silver trim. Smack in the middle of the speaker grill is a play/pause button which allows for music playback control, and also doubles up as a pick up/hang up button for your phone -- as well as play music from your phone, the Prophet can also be used to make (very loud) hands-free phone calls thanks to the built in microphone.

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