Latest Technology News

Windows Phone 8.1 available for AT&T Nokia Lumia 925, Lumia 520

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Months after its unveiling in early-April at Build 2014, Windows Phone 8.1 is finally rolling out to compatible smartphones. Among the latest Windows Phone 8 devices to receive the coveted software upgrade are the AT&T variants of Nokia Lumia 925 and Lumia 520, the latter of which being a branded version of the most popular Windows Phone to date.

AT&T customers using Lumia 925 and Lumia 520 can apply the software upgrade right away, suggests the US mobile operator, by heading to the Settings menu, opening the phone update submenu and tapping on the check for updates button, the last of which will reveal the option to kick off the install.

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Qi standard to enable wireless charging at a longer distance

Sony Xperia Z2 Qi Wireless Charging Plate Cover Case

Despite being called wireless charging, the technology we love today still has a long way to go before it can allow us to top up our devices' batteries at a considerable distance from the charger. But, Wireless Power Consortium signals that the Qi standard may be able to (one day) outgrow this limitation.

Right now, devices compatible with the current version (1.1) of the Qi standard can be charged only at a very short distance away from the charger. Based on my experience, you can barely pick up your device without having the connection drop. The new version (1.2) of the standard, however, increases the charging distance to 45 mm, which is no small feat.

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Refresh app helps build stronger sales relationships

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The sales process is all about making effective connections with customers and potential customers, so any tool that can help with that process will make meetings run more smoothly and profitably.

A new web app and iOS app from Refresh is aimed at giving sales staff deeper insight into their contacts. The app syncs to the sales person’s calendar to provide instant information on the people they’re meeting.

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Internet Explorer 11 is much more usable in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1

Internet Explorer 11 Twitter Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1

While it can never be faulted for being slow, Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone 8.1 still has some catching up to do with rival browsers from competing platforms, mostly regarding the way it displays some websites. My biggest gripe is that it quite often shows the desktop-optimized versions, when it should load the mobile-friendly versions instead (not the dated ones, mind you, like it does so frequently now).

Fortunately, those problems appear to be fixed in the version of Internet Explorer 11 found in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. "Based on your feedback, we pursued a web experience for IE users consistent with what is available on iOS and Android devices -- even where this meant we would be adding non-standard web platform features", says Microsoft. "We believe that this is a more pragmatic approach to running today's less-standardized mobile web".

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Enterprise mobile spending expected to grow more than 50 percent

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There has been rapid growth in the number of mobile devices attached to corporate systems in recent years and this shows no signs of slowing down.

A new survey sponsored by Oracle shows that not only are enterprises more committed to mobility, but that the rate of development, deployment and spending for support of mobile applications and devices is set to increase dramatically.

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Windows 8.x loses market share for second consecutive month

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Windows 9 can’t come soon enough for Microsoft, as Windows 8.x continues to lose market share, according to the latest usage data from Net Applications.

Last month I reported that in June Windows 8.x had gone into reverse gear, losing market share for the first time, and posed this question -- "Statistical anomaly or downward trend?" It’s too early to call it a "trend" but anyone who expected the tiled OS to make a recovery in July will be disappointed by the latest set of figures. There’s a striking difference this time around too -- both Windows 8 and 8.1 show drops in July. Ouch.

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Must it always be Windows?

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Many companies use Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environments to enable their employees to work with mobile devices or from a home office. With VDI, employees remotely access hosted solutions and work securely on corporate servers. What sounds like the perfect answer unfortunately turns out to be, in reality, an aggravating, eye-opening experience for the users.

The reason for this is that these hosted apps usually run more slowly than local apps and require a steady, high-performance online connection, which is not always available in home offices. Thus, the work in a home office often goes slowly and is not accepted by the users. They would much rather work with their local applications on their desktop, especially since Microsoft Office applications are available on almost every computer.

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Internet.org brings free online access to Africa

Facebook is teaming up with mobile operators in Africa in order to bring the Internet to millions of people without online access.

The project, which is being headed up by an organization called Internet.org , is starting in Zambia and could bring benefits to millions who have no experience of the digital world, while also increasing Facebook's user base.

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Microsoft announces Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Halo Limited Edition: The Master Chief

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Nerds love things that are "limited edition". Once we hear that something will be in limited supply, we just have to have it. If a company released a limited edition Game of Thrones Pet Rock for $500, it would probably sell out. Make them individually numbered and you can probably get double.

Of course, some limited edition items are rather cool. Hell, I have been known to get caught up in the hype, buying limited edition art prints and vinyl figures. Most recently I scoured the internet in search of a limited edition Titanfall Xbox One controller and I don't even own that console or game! Why did I need it then? I wanted it to use on my Windows machines, and I couldn't be caught dead using the normal black one, right? Today, Microsoft announces another limited edition peripheral -- the Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Halo Limited Edition: The Master Chief (phew, long product name!). This is being released to celebrate Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One.

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CyberLink Media Suite 12 Ultimate: A great value-for-money bundle [Review]

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After almost 20 years developing multimedia software, it’s no surprise that CyberLink has some impressive products. But they can seem expensive. PowerDVD is definitely a versatile and feature-packed media player, but if you’re used to freeware then its $99.95 list price might send you elsewhere.

Fortunately CyberLink’s Media Suite 12 Ultimate offers a more value-for-money option, providing a big chunk of the CyberLink range -- a total of fifteen products -- for as little as $139.95.

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Windows Phone is like OS X a decade ago -- gaining respect, finally

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Four years ago, I asserted: "Windows Phone 7 series is a lost cause", and it was. But you gotta give Microsoft credit for persistence. Today the foundation is solid, and app developers are finally starting to notice, like they did in 2004 with Apple's flagship operating system.

But pundits howl like the zombie apocalypse, which is pretty good analogy for mindless Android and iOS users constantly clicking and scrolling. Microsoft's Windows Phone "glance-and-go" design philosophy is all about living beings and interacting with them rather than cold plastic and metal slabs. (Say, isn't that where we lay the dead before burying them?)

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Endpoint management is very much alive

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There are plenty of IT managers who would argue that device management -- for PC, laptop and tablet fleets -- has long gone the way of the Dodo.

In fact, Info-Tech analyst Mike Bassista agrees, recently suggesting that "organizations should treat IT as utility; any endpoint should be able to access the applications and services needed by its user. And like the power company doesn't need to manage light bulbs receiving electricity, IT doesn't need to manage endpoints receiving IT services". Whilst there is some merit to his comment, I really believe device management is more important now than ever before.

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How to overcome the main challenges faced by IT departments

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IT departments always used to be the butt of jokes. Perhaps this was because being nerdy and geeky wasn't hip and cool until social media took the world by storm and made multimillionaires out of self-confessed geeks like Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

Technology firms like Apple and Google are partly responsible for making consumer IT cool, but the IT department is still often viewed as an impenetrable world only inhabited by geeks and boffins that are often arrogant, rude and obstructive.

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Logitech TogetherWeGame will make you a game developer -- no skills needed

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Growing up as a computer nerd, I remember thinking that I would learn how to program, so I could develop my own video games. I think this is a dream that many nerds share. I remember that my dad bought me a huge book on programming and after about 5 pages, I gave up and began reading comic books instead. The moral of this story is not that I'm stupid (although that is debatable), but that not everyone is cut out to be a programmer. My dreams of creating a video game were dead.

Or were they? Today, Logitech announces that it will be crowdsourcing a video game. This means that the direction of the game will be handled by fans on the internet -- pretty cool, eh? The best part is, no technical skills are required. In other words, my dream of contributing to a video game is alive and well.

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Google Chrome 64-bit Beta arrives, edges closer to final Windows release

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Google has moved its dedicated 64-bit Windows build of Chrome one step closer to its final release with the launch of Google Chrome 37.0 Beta (64-bit). The new release requires Windows 7 64-bit or later to run.

The new build, which is also available in 64-bit form for Linux, moves to the beta channel, but despite media speculation, users should not assume a final release is just a few weeks away – it could yet be months before Google deems the build is stable enough for general consumption.

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