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Best Windows 8 apps this week

chronology

One-hundred and four in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps and games released for Windows 8.x in the last seven days.

Microsoft may have cleaned up the store recently but there is still work to be done. If you check the newest apps in the Music & Video category for example you will notice eight paid YouTube applications of which all have been created by the same author and don't seem to be different at all.

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LG introduces its first in-house mobile processor, powers G3 Screen phablet

LG Nuclun

The mobile device market is extremely diverse judging by the number of companies which sell smartphones and tablets today. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of vendors worldwide. On the other hand, when it comes to mobile processors, there are only a handful of companies which make them. Of those, even fewer are also handset vendors and even fewer still are well known by the average consumers: Apple and Samsung.

It is tough to make a splash in the mobile processor market, as top players such as Qualcomm and Apple are so far ahead in the game that it is very difficult for a new player to catch up and compete on equal footing with the leaders. LG, however, is not afraid to give it a try, as it just unveiled its first in-house mobile processor. And the South Korean maker is not wasting any time as it has already put it to use in its new G3 Screen phablet.

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Flashback Friday: How Disney's Fantasia led to the foundation of HP

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HP is one of the oldest and largest IT corporations in the world. It also happens to be one of the most interesting. Now largely associated with enterprises and hardcore business technology, it's a little-known fact that HP was actually the driving force behind the establishment of Silicon Valley.

Way back in the early 1930s, Bill Hewlett and David Packard were engineering students -- and friends -- at Stanford University. Upon graduation, however, they went in separate directions; Packard headed to New York State, securing a job with General Electric, while Hewlett took his studies further, at MIT and then Stanford again.

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Point of sale malware infections show sharp rise

Malware spy

Threat protection specialist Damballa has released its threat protection report for the third quarter, highlighting that the malware threat is still growing.

Based on analysis of traffic from the company's ISP and enterprise companies, the report looks at one of the biggest challenges facing IT security teams, that of identifying genuine attacks amongst a plethora of security alerts. In the last quarter it says that the 'noisiest' enterprises experienced some 138,000 events in a day. This represents a 32 percent increase over Q2, with customers experiencing an average of 37 infected devices a day.

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Microsoft ditches Nokia brand for Windows Phones

Microsoft Lumia

Microsoft officially announced today that the Nokia branding will not be used in conjunction with its future Windows Phones. The software giant will sell its upcoming smartphones as Microsoft Lumias. However, it will continue to make use of Nokia's name for dumb phones.

The tech media may act surprised, but, in fact, we have known that this was bound to happen for more than a year. In early-September 2013, when the sale of Nokia's Devices & Services to Microsoft was announced, the terms revealed that the software giant would eventually have to drop the Nokia branding.

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Chromebook shipments rise 67 percent this quarter

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Chromebooks continue to shine in terms of growth according to the latest figures from ABI Research, with the notebooks up 67 percent quarter-on-quarter in terms of shipment levels.

And indeed ABI forecasts that Google's cloudy laptops will double in quantity when it comes to year-on-year.

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Fire Phone flops badly, burns Amazon

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Amazon didn’t have a good third quarter, reporting a net loss of $437 million, which is up significantly from the $41m loss it reported for the same quarter last year. Contributing to that loss is the abject failure of the Fire Phone.

My colleague Brian Fagioli described Amazon's handset as Android done differently in his review, and although he liked it, he said it wouldn’t be for everyone. It turns out it’s for hardly anyone.

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Christian Bale is Steve Jobs in upcoming biopic

Christian Bale

Christian Bale has been confirmed to play Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in an upcoming feature film based on Walter Isaacson's biography of the late technology icon.

Oscar winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin revealed the news during a Bloomberg television interview with Emily Chang yesterday.

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Surface generated almost $1 billion revenue for Microsoft last quarter

Surface generated almost $1 billion revenue for Microsoft last quarter

Anyone who was under the impression that Surface was a failure for Microsoft need look no further than the latest earnings release for proof that they're wrong. In the quarter ending September 30, Microsoft pulled in $23.20 billion in revenue, and $908 million of this came from the Surface division.

All told, FY15 Q1 represents record first quarter revenue for Microsoft, and it can be at least partly attributed to the influence of Satya Nadella, as well as the restructuring surrounding Nokia Devices and Services. There was a strong performance in the Devices and Consumer divisions, with revenue increasing 47% to $10.96 billion, while commercial revenue rose 10% to $12.28 billion.

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Buffer 4.0 for iPad and iPhone released, becomes universal app

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Social media scheduling service Buffer has unveiled Buffer 4.0 for iPad and iPhone, a major new release of its companion app for sharing and scheduling posts on social networks. Like the web-based service, the app supports Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts.

Version 4.0 becomes a universal app, and now offers full, native iPad support. It also adds a new Share option for scheduling content from other apps.

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pledges $100 million to tackle Ebola

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Saying "the Ebola virus is unlike any health crisis we have ever experienced and needs a response unlike anything we have ever seen," Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, pledged millions of dollars to help tackle the virus. The billionaire philanthropist increased his commitment to "at least $100 million" and called on others to contribute as well.

Ebola has now claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people, and Allen is keen to help fund not only heathcare professionals and treatments, but also the evacuation of international aid workers. Allen's #TackleEbola website is being used as a hub to raise money for a number of individual projects and causes such as household protection kits and hand-washing stations.

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Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn is here -- Linux fans, download now!

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Not only is Ubuntu one of the most user-friendly Linux distributions, but it also gets many timely releases. Say what you want about it, but the overall experience is second to none. I would not hesitate to recommend Ubuntu to both Linux beginners and experts alike.

After we just learned the name of the future version of the OS (15.04) to be Vivid Vervet (it is coming in 2015), Canonical releases Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn today. Linux fans can download it now!

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Bluesmart debuts its intelligent 21st Century suitcase

Bluesmart

There are a few things that annoy the modern jet-setter more than anything. It is those pesky baggage restrictions for some. For others, it’s the airline’s uncanny ability to lose your luggage at the most inopportune times. Or maybe its those pesky TSA security lines or a lack of power outlets to charge your electronic devices.

Bluesmart Technologies wants to solve those problems in a new high-tech carry-on suitcase, and from the looks of it, the traveling public is ready to give the firm their hard-earned money.

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Android Wear update adds GPS support as Sony SmartWatch 3 orders open

Android Wear update adds GPS support as Sony SmartWatch 3 orders open

There are now a lot of smartwatches to choose from, and many of them need to be tethered to a phone to function properly. Google today rolls out an update to Android Wear that adds support for watches with a GPS sensor, meaning that it will be possible to leave your phone at home when you go for a run.

The GPS update is making its way to the LG G Watch, the Samsung Gear Live, and the Moto 360 over the coming days. It coincides with pre-orders opening for Sony's SmartWatch 3, the first Android Wear device to include a GPS sensor. The smartwatch is available on Verizon right now (yours for $249.99) for shipping on 30 October, and will be making its way to Google Play very soon.

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Apple Pay really is that easy, and game changing

Apple pay

When Tim Cook stood on stage last month to introduce Apple Pay, the typically reserved chief executive could barely contain his excitement. A video plays with a woman in a shoe store. She pulls out her shiny new iPhone 6, places her finger on the Touch ID sensor, taps it on the NFC receiver, and walks out with her purchase. "That’s it!" Cook exclaims. "That’s it!"

Cook’s reaction was over the top, of course -- which some of us argue is modus operandi for any Apple keynote -- but it certainly signals the promise of NFC and is an example of how Apple Pay will streamline and advance mobile payments from here on out. Is it really as simple as it looks? I can tell you it is. Following the release of Apple Pay with iOS 8.1 on Monday, I set out to test it on the vending machines at work. Indeed, it's as simple as the demo showed. All you need to do is pull up Passbook, tap the card you’d like to use, put your thumb on the Touch ID button and place it near the receiver.

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